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Red Sox expected to make “aggressive bid” for Roy Oswalt

Jan 21, 2012, 8:56 PM EDT

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The Red Sox traded infielder Marco Scutaro to the Rockies on Saturday afternoon in order to free themselves of his $6 million salary commitment for 2012. And they are expected to now channel that freed up cash into the acquisition of a new starter.

A source told ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick that the Boston front office is planning an “aggressive bid” for free agent right-hander Roy Oswalt. They could also target free agent right-hander Edwin Jackson and explore a trade for White Sox left-hander John Danks.

Oswalt, 34, registered a 3.69 ERA, 93/33 K/BB ratio and 1.34 WHIP in 139 innings (23 starts) last season for the Phillies. He’s thought to be seeking a one-year contract in the $8-$12 million range.

  1. Glenn - Jan 21, 2012 at 9:07 PM

    Doesn’t seem worth trading your starting shortstop to overpay a guy who was ok in the National League to pitch in the AL East. Plus I don’t trust his health.

  2. uyf1950 - Jan 21, 2012 at 9:24 PM

    The Red Sox were concerned about going over the $178MM luxury tax threshold for 2012. Not sure if anyone ever advised them, but the smartest way to stay under it is NOT to dump $6MM and pick up $8 to $12MM.

    • Ari Collins - Jan 21, 2012 at 11:18 PM

      They’re already over it. And paying 40% (or something akin to it) on a cheap deal ain’t too bad.

    • uyf1950 - Jan 22, 2012 at 6:16 AM

      Ari, I didn’t say they weren’t over it. I said and what has been reported for the last several weeks is “The Red Sox were concerned about going over the $178MM luxury tax threshold for 2012″.

      They still had time to get under the threshold before the start of the season. And this trade does absolutely nothing in regard to that. If your concerned about the threshold tax and going over it, which the Red Sox most definitely seemed to be, common sense tells me you don’t dump $6MM in salary to pick up $8MM or more. That only seems like a reasonable conclusion to draw.

      BTW Ari, if you will recall I’m the one that’s been saying for weeks now the Red Sox are over the threshold for 2012. The only way I know of to get under the threshold when you’re over it is to dump salary and pick up LESS than you dump. Not the other way around.

      • Ari Collins - Jan 22, 2012 at 9:11 AM

        Do you honestly think Boston doesn’t know they’re over the threshold? They’re not going, “Oh, we don’t want to go over the threshold!” when they already are. It’s far more likely they’re concerned with how much over the threshold they are, considering they’re paying a 40% tax on anything over that, and of course they’re prefer keeping things to one-year commitments so that they’re under the threshold next year (when a fair amount of money comes off the books).

        Picking up $2MM more at a 40% clip ($2.8MM) is far different from picking up $8MM more at a 40% clip ($11.2MM). That’s the actual calculation on whether to dump Scutaro or not.

      • uyf1950 - Jan 22, 2012 at 11:25 AM

        Ari, please read my initial post again. I didn’t say they didn’t know they’re over the threshold. My exact words were “The Red Sox were concerned about going over the $178MM luxury tax threshold for 2012.”

      • bigleagues - Jan 22, 2012 at 1:38 PM

        Any definitive statement that the Red Sox are in fact OVER the 2012 luxury tax threshold is an observational opinion and not rooted in any established facts that I can discern.

        I just took a look at what Cot’s has for 2012 Payroll, and did a rough estimation based including the supposition that Papi will get $16m (he won’t), subtracting Scutaro, adding $8m for Oswalt, Bard’s arbitration figure, rough estimates of minor league contracts to be signed and the somewhat nebulous (to the general public) medical/minors figure of 10.5m. And guess what?

        The Sox are exactly on pace for $178m.

        And as has been said, the Sox still have plenty of time to make adjustments to get under if need be.

        Make no mistake about it, the Red Sox are intent, resolved, determined (choose an adjective) to stay under the ceiling because moving forward beyond 2012, there is a HUGE difference between paying 40% and 15%.

        And it doesn’t take an expert on money (John Henry) to realize that.

        The Sox are

      • uyf1950 - Jan 22, 2012 at 6:21 PM

        bigleagues – I’ve been keeping track of the several teams anticipated 2012 payroll here is the Red Sox as of today: Most of the figures are from Cot’s baseball contracts except where I’ve noted other wise: Now some may be slightly off because MLB uses the players AAV but the overall difference is probably insignificant.

        Red Sox with 2012 Guaranteed Contracts per Cot’s:
        Crawford, Carl …………………….. $20,357,000
        Gonzalez Adrian………………….. $21,857,000
        Beckett, Josh……………………… $17,000,000
        Lackey, John – TJS……………… $15,950,000
        Matsuzaka, Daisuke – TJS…….. $10,330,000
        Lester, Jon………………………… $7,630,000
        Buchholz, Clay…………………… $3,500,000
        Youkilis, Kevin……………………. $12,250,000
        Pedroia, Dustin…………………… $8,250,000
        Ellsbury, Jacoby…………………. $8,050,000
        Scutaro, Marcos…………………. Traded-No Figure
        Jenks, Bobby (DL)………………. $6,000,000
        Saltalamacchia, Jarrod…………. $2,500,000
        Iglesias, Jose – Minors Prospect $2,062,500
        Sweeney, Ryan………………….. $1,750,000
        Bard, Daniel………………………. $1,612,500
        Punto, Nick……………………….. $1,500,000
        Shoppach, Kelly …………………. $1,350,000
        Aviles, Mike……………………….. $1,200,000
        Albers, Matt……………………….. $1,075,000
        Miller, Andrew…………………….. $1,040,000
        Morales, Franklin…………………. $850,000
        …..Sub-Total………………………………. $146,114,000
        Players Eligible for Pre-Arb and Arbitration Estimate of Award:
        Ortiz, David………………………… $14,000,000
        Bailey, Andrew……………………. $3,350,000
        Aceves, Alfredo…………………… $1,600,000
        Lavarnway, Ryan…………………. $480,000
        Doubront, Felix-Pre Arb………… $480,000
        Melancon, Mike-Pre Arb……….. $480,000
        …..Sub-Total This Group…………………$20,390,000
        Oswalt – Signing Potential……… $8,000,000 (minimum)
        …..TOTAL OF ALL ABOVE…………..$174,504,000

        Add in NOT in any of above figures:
        Player Incentives
        Benefits and
        Balance of 40 Man Roster…………….$11,000,000 (conservative calculation)

        GRAND TOTAL IF OSWALT IS SIGNED: ……$185,504,000 (conservative estimate)

        GRAND TOTAL IF THEY DO NOT SIGN OSWALT OR ANYONE ELSE: $177,504,000 (conservative estimate).

        I’d say they are done luxury tax wise the moment they have any new signing of anyone.

      • Ari Collins - Jan 23, 2012 at 11:10 AM

        “Ari, please read my initial post again. I didn’t say they didn’t know they’re over the threshold. My exact words were “The Red Sox were concerned about going over the $178MM luxury tax threshold for 2012.””

        But why would they be concerned about going over the threshold if they’re already over it, unless they didn’t know they were over it?

        Either you believe that rumor mongers, unaware that Boston is already over the threshold, have misrepresented “Boston doesn’t want to go too much further over the threashold” into “Boston is concerned about going over the threshold,” or you believe that Boston does not, in fact, know they’re over the threshold.

        I know you’re having fun dumping on Boston for possibly switching a $6MM contract for an $8MM contract and thus adding payroll when they are trying to reduce it. But the fact is that this isn’t some binary thing where over the threshold is a failure and under it a success. I’m sure that Boston is weighing the value of improving the roster against the added expense of paying 40% on the overage. If adding Oswalt while keeping Scutaro costs them $8MM plus 40% ($11.2MM), they might view that as a bad move. If adding Oswalt while jettisoning Scutaro only costs them $2MM plus 40% ($2.8MM), that’s considerably more palatable. And they’re all better moves than jettisoning Scutaro and not adding Oswalt, which saves them some money, sure, but seriously hampers the team.

  3. bosshogg3 - Jan 21, 2012 at 9:33 PM

    Oswald wouldn’t survive in the al east.it’d be a waste of money for a guy who would struggle to get out of the 5th inning

    • jjschiller - Jan 22, 2012 at 1:26 AM

      Dude his name is right in the title. And it’s included three times in the post. Get with it.

    • spudchukar - Jan 22, 2012 at 2:49 PM

      Yeah he’s no Colon or Garcia.

  4. yankeesgameday - Jan 21, 2012 at 10:18 PM

    Good! Please sign this guy Boston

  5. bleedgreen - Jan 21, 2012 at 10:39 PM

    Roy was afraid to come to Philly because he didn’t want to be in the spotlight? My guess is he stays far away from Boston unless the money is ridiculous.

  6. stex52 - Jan 21, 2012 at 10:42 PM

    It all depends. If his back is giving him trouble, he may struggle anywhere. If his back is okay, he will do fine. Last time I checked, they still play baseball in the AL East.

  7. randygnyc - Jan 21, 2012 at 10:48 PM

    They do sure play baseball in the al east. Actually, it’s beastball. I’m praying he signs with the RS. Varitek, too. bring back Buckner while they’re at it.

  8. pastabelly - Jan 21, 2012 at 10:49 PM

    Can Oswalt play short stop? Theo F’d that position up for seven years. Why break from this tradition?

  9. aceshigh11 - Jan 21, 2012 at 11:04 PM

    I dunno…a one-year deal?

    Why not…his durability is certainly in question, but if he holds up physically, he’ll be a solid starter at the back of the rotation.

    It’s not like the Sox are committing long-term big bucks to him…Oswalt is tough and has a strong work ethic. He wants to pitch and, if healthy, he’ll bring his A-game.

  10. Ari Collins - Jan 21, 2012 at 11:14 PM

    Wow, some people really think too much of the AL East. Of course the AL is tougher than the NL, but it’s not THAT much tougher. The non-Boston AL East scored 15% more runs than the non-Phillies NL East last year, and he’d most likely pitch outside the division more than he would inside anyway.

    There’s his health to consider (which is why he’s available on a cheap one-year contract), but the harder run-scoring environment just wouldn’t be that big a deal, folks.

    • uyf1950 - Jan 22, 2012 at 6:42 AM

      Ari, I’ll take on faith your numbers about the scored runs you mention above. But your not accounting for a couple of things in general about the American League and how it could effect Oswalt and the Red Sox in general.

      1st) The Angels got more offense when they signed Pujols as well as their already strong pitching got better with the signing of CJ Wilson. And traditionally the Angels have been the whipping boys of the Red Sox. That’s likely changed.
      2nd) The Red Sox offense has probably has taken a hit with them trading Scutaro.
      3rd) The Rays got a little better offensively with the signing of Pena and their pitching should be even a little better as well with some of the younger arms getting more experience.
      3rd) If all the hype about Darvish is to be believed which many on this board and the experts believe the Rangers pitching has improved, as well has the Yankees pitching. Which may mean the Red Sox will score fewer runs than last year.

      If I may be allowed to extrapolate. This should mean the Red Sox will not score as much as they did in 2011 and at least some of other teams they face will be better come 2012. Which does not bode well for the Red Sox or Oswalt in 2012. At least that’s my opinion. Oh, and I forgot to mention Oswalt will be a year older.

      BTW, I should mention I like Oswalt. I just don’t think this trade by the Red Sox makes them any better then they would have been without it. In my opinion if the Red Sox were going to trade for a pitcher aside from getting a decent pitcher they needed to get a “reliable” pitcher to give them innings and lots and lots of them because of their lack of depth at that position and because of the last couple of years of history of their starting rotation.

      • phillyphreak - Jan 22, 2012 at 8:12 AM

        Per points 1-4 in your post above. I think they’re more Red Sox based than Oswalt based. And you could argue point 1, 3, 4 for any team in the AL by these criteria. The only thing that these would impact Oswalt would be on W-L record.

        I really don’t see the reason NOT to take a risk on a one year deal for ~8 million.

      • uyf1950 - Jan 22, 2012 at 11:31 AM

        philluphreak, apparently I didn’t explain myself clearly enough. My point or at least the point I was trying to make was I do NOT believe this deal (that being moving Scutaro’s $6MM and say picking up Oswalt’s salary at $8MM +/-) does NOT make the Red Sox better. For the reason’s I explained above. And if it doesn’t make them better why pick up the extra $2MM in salary with Oswalt when you as a team are already worried about the luxury tax implications. That at least was the point I was trying to make. In my opinion.

  11. bozosforall - Jan 21, 2012 at 11:16 PM

    Add a run to his ERA right now. Maybe even a run and a half for being in the AL East. Red Sox continue their downward spiral.

    • paperlions - Jan 22, 2012 at 8:47 AM

      Yeah, the AL east is super tough. Freddy Garcia and Bartolo Colon were just decimated by pitching in that division.

      Is there a difference? Sure. Is it anywhere near as big as most of you are making it out to be? No, it is not; especially if you are pitching for the Red Sox, who you may not remember led all of baseball in runs scored last year. If you pitch for the Yankees or RS, you face one other great offense in the division.

      • bozosforall - Jan 23, 2012 at 10:49 AM

        Garcia and Colon are both better than Oswalt right now.

  12. proudlycanadian - Jan 22, 2012 at 6:45 AM

    I see the Red Sox in 4th place in the AL East. They have holes in the OF and at SS.

  13. damnyankee13 - Jan 22, 2012 at 7:15 AM

    Red Sox..good luck this year

  14. hammyofdoom - Jan 22, 2012 at 8:23 AM

    I loved Marco, but hes 36, only played 110 games last year and his numbers EXPLODED in september with his OPS in September being 1.0 while in the rest of the season it was around .69. It sounds bad to say they traded their starting short stop, but if he made it 130 games at short this year I would have been shocked. I’m not exactly thrilled with the idea of a stopgap at both Right and Short, but even with Scutaro gone and Jed Lowrie providing a led glove an anemic bat for most of the season, and with JD not doing jack in RF, they led the league in scoring most of the season. Hey if it gets them Roy oswalt I’m good with it, they just arent in an exactly ideal situation at the moment

    • Ari Collins - Jan 22, 2012 at 9:14 AM

      Right on, except that Lowrie’s gone. It’s probably at Aviles, with Punto as a defensive replacement.

      • proudlycanadian - Jan 22, 2012 at 9:17 AM

        Lugo is not available as he signed with the Indians. Seriously Ari. I do not like Boston’s outlook this season.

      • hammyofdoom - Jan 22, 2012 at 12:30 PM

        I meant to say that last year when Scutaro was gone Lowie provided zilch, not that he wont this year. There will be very little drop off this year regardless

  15. sonsofneely - Jan 22, 2012 at 9:21 AM

    Solid vet who still can get guys out…the Sox could use him-they’ve always coveted him

  16. westtribetobe - Jan 22, 2012 at 9:52 AM

    I think any baseball fan, including sox front office, are aware of the risks of moving a pitcher from NL to AL. Oswalt may be old but his ceiling right now is worth an $8M 1-year risk. He’s 34 not 38, as a Yankee fan I almost would rather have signed Oswalt than Kuroda. That’s just my personal opinion but 2 years ago Oswalt was still in ace form and it’s not exactly like he blew up last year.

  17. Charles Gates - Jan 22, 2012 at 9:53 AM

    The luxury tax angle is an internal front office discussion and doesn’t affect on field performance- ignoring opportunity cost of capital and roster flexibility.

    In a vacuum, Oswalt is probably the best FO SP available. If the going rate of a free agent is still ~$5MM per WAR, the numbers above are well within reason.

  18. pisano - Jan 22, 2012 at 10:26 AM

    The only reason Oswalt is still unsigned is because of his back issues. It depends on which team will take a chance on his health. He’s making it as attractive as he can by being willing to accept a one year contract. He will go to which ever team offers him the most lucrative offer. If healthy he can help any team, but it will be a gamble.

  19. tommyrob4780 - Jan 22, 2012 at 11:10 AM

    marco inpressed me last year we he had 2 fill in 4 jed so why would we get rid of marco when he dud good job but we been makin bad trades so far this year i hate it

  20. skeleteeth - Jan 22, 2012 at 10:10 PM

    Unimaginative and wreaks of desperation.

    • skeleteeth - Jan 22, 2012 at 10:11 PM

      And it stinks!

  21. uyf1950 - Jan 23, 2012 at 8:52 AM

    It would appear that the Red Sox are not the only team showing interest in Oswalt. I read today that the Tigers are showing “serious” interest in Oswalt. Two teams, one expected to make an “aggressive bid” the other showing “serious interest” in Oswalt. That can only mean competition and a higher price.

    • bozosforall - Jan 23, 2012 at 10:51 AM

      Good for the Yankees…I hope that the price for Oswalt gets driven up as much as possible.

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